The persistence of extreme gender segregation in the Twenty-first century

Asaf Levanon, David B. Grusky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why is there so much occupational sex segregation in the 21st century? The authors cast light on this question by using the O*NET archive of occupation traits to operationalize the concepts of essentialism and vertical inequality more exhaustively than in past research. When the new model is applied to recent U.S. Census data, the results show that much vertical segregation remains even after the physical, analytic, and interactional forms of essentialism are controlled; that essentialism nonetheless accounts for much more of total segregation than does vertical inequality; that the physical and interactional forms of segregation are especially strong; that the physical form of essentialism is one of the few examples of female-advantaging segregation; and that essentialismtakes on a fractal structure that generates much finely detailed segregation at detailed occupational levels. The authors conclude by discussing howessentialist processes partly account for the intransigence of occupational sex segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-619
Number of pages47
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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